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SO´NTIUS (Isonzo), one of the most considerable of the rivers of Venetia, which has its sources in the Alps, at the foot of the lofty Mt. Terglou, and has from thence a course of above 75 miles to the sea, which it enters at the inmost bight of the Adriatic, between Aquileia and the Timavus. It receives at the present day the waters of the Natisone and Torre, the ancient NATISO and TURRIS both of which in ancient times pursued independent courses to the sea under the walls of Aquileia, and from the E. those of the Wippach or Vipao, called by the ancients the FLUVIUS FRIGIDUS. Though so important a stream, the name of the Sontius is not mentioned by any of the geographers; but it is found in the Tabula, which places a station called Ponte Sonti (Ad Pontem Sontii) 14 miles from Aquileia on the highroad to Aemona (Laybach). This bridge, which lay on the main entrance into Italy on this side, was a military point of considerable importance. It checked for a time the march of the emperor Maximin when advancing upon Aquileia, in A.D. 238 (Herodian, 8.4; Capit. Maximin. 22); and at a later period it was here that Odoacer took up his position to oppose the advance of Theodosius, by whom he was, however, defeated in a decisive battle, A.D. 489 (Cassiod. Chron. p. 472; Id. Var. 1.18; Jornand. Get. 57). The Sontius is correctly described by Herodian, though he does not mention its name, as a large and formidable stream, especially in spring and summer, when it is fed by the melting of the Alpine snows.


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